Specifically, she called out how to quickly resume a game with today’s consoles, and said the ROG Ally is pushing Microsoft to think about that for PCs as well: “How are we thinking about integrating this into the Windows platform? ” Another focus is on making it easy to pick up right where you left off, from gaming on a PC to a session ready to go on this kind of handheld.
In the review we published for the ROG Ally today, we loved the performance and the screen, but found that Windows still causes problems in such a small device. A renewed focus from Microsoft on bringing quality-of-life features from the console to Windows could be part of turning that around, though it’s unclear whether the discussions focus on individual games or changes made at the operating system layer.
Microsoft recently experimented with a Windows gaming handheld mode, but it was just part of an employee hackathon, and Asus ROG Ally technical marketing director Sascha Krohn tells us that his Microsoft contact wouldn’t explicitly confirm such a handheld mode. will come true. Meanwhile, Asus finds itself needing to code additional gaming features into its own app, such as ways to invoke the Xbox button, limit a battery’s maximum charge, and support rapid-fire buttons.
The user interface isn’t the only problem with Windows gaming handhelds. Another example that didn’t quite make it to our Ally review: Windows portables go into an internet-connected “Modern Standby” mode when you press the power button, which theoretically allows you to download games and quickly resume a running game while the system is busy save battery.
In practice the downloads fell through and we lost more battery than if we just put the Ally to sleep – but if you put the power button to sleep you could accidentally put the system into a deep sleep mode if you just try to wake the screen. (None of the Ally’s other controls wake it up, as none are recognized by Windows until the system is awake.)
Closing these gaps at the operating system layer will make it easier for Windows gaming devices like the Ally to take their massive game libraries on the go – as of today, Valve’s Steam Deck feels more suited to a handheld device despite its limitations.